Bill would change security clearance process

House members have introduced legislation that would require reporting on governmentwide adjudication and investigation guidelines for the security clearance process and ways to evaluate how agencies accept each other’s clearances for employees and contractors.

The bill would require the president to submit a report to Congress that would include governmentwide adjudication guidelines, a plan to improve the professional development of security clearance adjudicators and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of interagency clearance reciprocity. The report would also include governmentwide standards for security clearance investigations and would be due in six months after the bill became law.

The proposed legislation was introduced Jan. 22 by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Eshoo chairs the Permanent Select Intelligence Committee's Intelligence Community Management Subcommittee and Issa is the panel's ranking member.

The bill would also require the president to conduct an audit of the federal government’s security process every four years and submit those findings to Congress.

And a yearly report on the number of employees and contractors who hold security clearances and the clearances that were recently approved would be required. The report would also include data from intelligence agencies on the number of security clearances that have remained open for several increments of time; such as between four months and eight months. The report would have data on the percentage of reviews caused denying a clearance or that were inconclusive.

In addition, the legislation calls for the Office of Management and Budget to submit to Congress each year a report on security clearance determinations made during the previous fiscal year that had been pending for more than a year.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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